During my recent adventures in entertaining, I made some fresh lemonade using lemons and oranges, and I saved the peels. Today I need to have something to take to a tea party, so I decided to try my mom’s orange bread. She makes it all the time for gift-giving and bake sales. She uses a recipe from The Joy of Cooking.
Last night I candied the orange and lemon peels. I skipped the preliminary parboiling step in the process to save some time, and after an hour of boiling them in the sugar syrup, I was afraid they would be too bitter, and was ready to concede defeat. But this morning I decided to try at least one experimental loaf, and now it’s cooling on the coutertop. The bread batter was very yummy, but my test slice is a bit too crumbly and not as good as my mom’s. I can never decide when the bread is done, and I think I may have baked this loaf a bit too long.
I have enough candied peel to try at least one more loaf, but I don’t have enough time to do it today.
...I’ve recently read a novel called Bread Alone, which contains several recipes for bread and scones and other baked goods, and which portrays bread-baking as one woman’s way to heal from the trauma of divorce.
I think maybe I’ll try one or two of the recipes before I return the book to the owner.
I wrote a story about the book here on All-Consuming. I just love the opening quotation of the book, so I think I’ll repeat it here:
Upside down I may take shape.
I may become resilient.
Kneaded, turned on end
I will become less
And somehow more myself.
from BECOMING BREAD by Gunilla Norris
from eating the bread that I baked yesterday. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the cat didn’t eat all the bread, and that I got the carpet cleaned up this morning.
Note to self for future bread-baking: must put cooling loaves of bread somewhere that the cats cannot reach.
The story of my bread-baking adventure:
First, the yeast was expired, but only by a little bit, so the bread did rise, and I was glad of that. Past experiments in bread-making have resulted in failure because the yeast didn’t work. I think another thing I did right was to make sure the water wasn’t too hot. A third thing was that I had bought the “fast acting” kind of yeast, which I had read has more active yeast than the “dry active” kind.
Second, I made a huge mess in the kitchen. The dough ended up taking more flour than the recipe called for, and I’m so out of practice that I didn’t put enough flour in before I turned it out on the counter to knead it, and it was soooo very sticky, and there was bread dough and flour everywhere. All over me and all over the kitchen. I eventually got it all cleaned up but I was wishing that I had a bread machine at times.
Third, I baked it long enough so that it was baked completely through but not overly dry. I’ve had problems with that in the past.
Finally, I left the two finished loaves on a rack on the counter to cool. I did take a slice of one loaf to see how it was, and it was pretty good. Then I fell asleep kind of early this evening. When I woke up just a while ago, I went to put the bread away, and noticed that my cat had been nibbling at one of the loaves, which kind of surprised me. He had nibbled away quite a bit of one side. I’ve never had a bread-eating kitty before! The other loaf was fine, so I sliced it and put it in the freezer. I also salvaged over half of the cat-eaten loaf. Hope the cat doesn’t get sick now.
I still have more flour and another package of yeast, so I plan to try again sometime soon, hoping I can learn from my mistakes.
quite a while ago, and I think I’d like to try a making a loaf before the yeast is past the expiration date.
It’s been years since I made a loaf of bread.